When two friends rediscover one another…
It might be for keeps.
Natalie Tuttle fled her hometown—and its humiliations—for big-city life.
When she must return after her mother falls ill, the last person she wants to see is Jaxon Stringfellow, the one-time friend who shattered her heart.
But military veteran Jax is so much more than the boy he once was.
And he’s coming to terms with his own demons.
Can Nat grant him the forgiveness he seeks…and so much more?
Titles in The Tuttle Sisters of Coho Cove series include — The Soldier’s Refuge —♥—
This is an adult 18+ story that may contain language, possible violence, and/or sexual situations geared to an adult audience.
Title: The Soldier’s Refuge
Series: The Tuttle Sisters of Coho Cove #1
Author: Sabrina York
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: May 23, 2023
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition
My Rating: 4.5
The Soldier’s Refuge begins The Tuttle Sisters of Coho Cove series with a poignant romance between two people who have an unpleasant high school history and have been through so much in the years since that they are both, in their own way, wounded souls searching for something. Forgiveness? Redemption? Justice? Yes, and perhaps something more… peace. Peace with the past and something more for the present than long held-onto memories and hurts that simply are not being mended by time alone.
Natalie left Coho Cove the moment she turned eighteen and never looked back. Oh, she’s returned for very brief visits to her mother and sisters — but she was quite happy to shake off the dust and the memories of this small town and the high school students who took such great delight in bullying her. Especially the one boy who she had a crush on, who she thought was her friend… only to have Jaxon deliver the worst nightmare of her teen years. Too bad, since to this day he still wanders freely around her mind. She won’t forgive, but she also cannot forget.
Jaxon returned home a broken man. His time in the military has left him with PTSD and an almost desperate need for solitude. It’s taken him years of therapy, discipline, and hard work to get to the point he is today… still broken, but maybe not as much. When Natalie returned home to help take care of her mother, he finally has the chance to apologize for the horrendous thing that happened between them in high school. If, and that’s a big if, she will let him.
I enjoyed Natalie and Jaxon’s story so much. I loved that art connected them in such a strong way without either being truly aware of it at first. Natalie is an art director in film, and television and Jaxon is a wood carving artist (and also part of his art therapy). Their story is at times very painful to read; bullying tactics remembered always are. Watching them come to terms with their shared past was emotional and eventually satisfying. Family is always complicated, and Natalie’s is no less. Misconceptions play a part, but distance and the past do as well for her and her sisters as they all deal with their mother’s declining health.
There is something subtle about Jax and Nat’s story that caught my attention in a good, satisfying way. Through descriptions of the locations, the homes, and the community center, or through dialogue we are told that there are many Indigenous Americans within this world; some characters who are now (or will be in the future ) the main focus of the story. There wasn’t a proclamation of that fact, simply a natural, developing part of the story. Now, I am a melting pot of backgrounds so I cannot speak for anyone but myself in that The Soldier’s Refuge told me a wonderful, emotional tale in a way that gave me a look into another culture’s life in a way that felt natural, it simply is the life these characters live. It was subtle but also stood out in my memory of this story.
Natalie and Jaxon gave The Tuttle Sisters of Coho Cove series a strong foundation, an emotional journey that ended in a promising future for two very deserving people. I’ll eagerly be watching for the next release in this series.
I own a Kindle edition of this title.
Available in print or for your favorite e-reader